Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Republicans Can't Handle Money

President Bush will sign legislation this week setting a 2003 budget that raises federal spending by 7.8 percent over last year, capping a remarkable two years in which the federal budget increased by 22 percent.

Although Bush has made controlling spending a recurring theme in recent months, the $791.5 billion spending bill for 2003 that he plans to approve by Thursday night will be one for the record books. The 2003 rate of discretionary spending increases -- the part of the budget subject to Congress's annual oversight -- will be the second-fastest since 1985. It is topped only by the 2002 increase, which included the government's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The government has not experienced a two-year leap in spending of this magnitude since expenditures jumped 24.5 percent between 1976 and 1978.